Three years ago I embarked on a journey.
Burned out from practice and the emotional toll of running my own business and being present for people when they are sick and stressed started to have its effect on me, physically and emotionally. I was tired, I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning, and I was easily overwhelmed when people were asking me to do something for them. Sometimes being around certain individuals was putting me out of sync.
Like so many other journeys in my life without true understanding, I felt called to explore mindfulness and meditation. I read the book “When things fall apart” by the brilliant Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron, and was immediately attracted to her humour, honesty, and self-awareness. I felt like I could relate to her struggles for self-ownership, emotional regulation, and just wanting to be calm within herself.
I decided to enrol in an Applied Mindfulness Meditation Certificate with the University of Toronto, because not raised Buddhist and a little wary of all things woo-woo, I was encouraged to see that they were discussing the scientific benefits I also thought potentially that I could understand with other like-minded people. I thought perhaps this would help my patients to feel calmer if I could teach them the techniques I learned.
Not surprisingly, the benefits that came from a mindful way of living were mine to own first. Of course, a teacher must be a student and so I found the benefits enabled me to be:
- Calmer and less reactive in the face of stressors, especially unexpected ones
- Kinder to myself, and others
- More understanding of myself and others
- More aware of my thoughts, body sensations, and emotions in my body
- More equipped to deal with the changing thoughts, body sensations, and emotions that our body continually cycle through within every day, hour, and minute
- Aware that I was not alone in this struggle for self-peace
- Connected to a large community of caring individuals, who I realized were just the human race, around us all the time.
Truly, my experience with mindfulness and meditation was life-changing. I am now more patient with myself (and as a perfectionist, that’s a seriously big deal), more accepting, aware, and curious. I’m participating in the ebb and flow of life. The phrase “this, too, shall pass” really started to make sense.
Was it easy? Heck, no. The best things in life are never easy.
It’s my turn to give back now, and honour the guidance of my teachers in the last several years, and those that continue to inspire and guide me to this peaceful way of life.
Join me in my mindfulness series this summer beginning July 14. If you think you’d love to, but aren’t around until the fall, keep checking in for my fall series beginning the third week of September.
I promise you, it’s life-changing.